Sanders/Buttigieg And Some Free Education
Hair splitting over hypothetical programs to assist people in affording university seemed to be the outrage d'jour online this week, or at least the parts of online I read. I was reminded of Clinton/Obama in 08 and the competing health care which had little resemblance to what came out the other end of the sausage machine.
One thing in the discussions did pique my interest however. Buttigieg's proposal had suggested a not free portion to begin at household income of six figures.
AOC suggested that an income of six figures is "working people" in NYC. I'd guess anyone who isn't a rentier could be considered a working person. The comments Ms AOC received were of the "one can't buy a pizza for a hundred thousand in NYC or San Francisco etc. Many many of the comments were to the effect that a $100,000 dollar income is barely surviving in NYC. As if below that is impossible?
So I looked.
Median household income in NYC is $57 thousand dollars. Half the households make less, half make more. That's from this year's census numbers. I'd say a very solid "most" people make less than a hundred thousand in New York City, yet somehow the twitterati responding to Ms AOC didn't seem aware that there is this whole universe of people who don't make that much money. In the very cities they live in. It's a serious problem in my party, heck both parties.
I discussed with my much more down to earth wife. Of course we support free tuition to public colleges. Our oldest will be going somewhere in a year and a half. Yes we make six figures, but barely, and it was only four years ago that we were just above or at poverty for many years stretching back to the recession. We've saved every year, and invested, and paid off a mortgage, but we've a lot more experience on the lower side of five figures than at six. Free tuition would float our boat.
I took a look too at the closest good public university. It is my kid's "safety" school in case, you know, Harvard is full. https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/projects/college-mobility/university... 59% of the students come from the top fifth of households, 3.8% are from the bottom fifth. If free public University were a policy, and if attendance remained the same, which it probably won't, such a program would mostly benefit the well to do. Likewise loan forgiveness. There is a perception amongst many working class people that such a program would be yet one more benefit for the wealthy.
We as a country have to have universal health care and education, at no out of pocket cost. And for those who need it education should include a dorm room and a meal plan. 37% of kids today get a bachelors, for minorities the numbers are pretty bad. For minorities the numbers are worse and much worse. Currently 75% and higher of minority students don't get a bachelor's. Income on average is about double for having that piece of paper.
Free post secondary education is something we simply have to do, at the same time we need to be mindful of not making it a program for the upper middle class. It has an awkward sound to it to many in the working class.